Staying active throughout the cold winter months is important for a wide variety of reasons. Keeping active during the winter will boost your immune system, keeping your resistance to colds and the flu up. Remaining active also helps to reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Regular activity helps you to get a better night’s sleep, helps you to maintain a healthy weight, and to lose weight. Regular exercise, just 30 minutes a day, can also help to control diabetes, high blood pressure, and the effects of heart disease.*
But keeping active when it’s cold outside and there is snow and ice on the ground can be especially challenging. So how can you stay active when it’s really cold outside?
Start by thinking about the things you like to do. If you like outdoor winter sports, then get outdoors and enjoy them. Try indoor or outdoor ice skating. Cross-country skiing is a great low-impact exercise to try.
For those of us who prefer not to venture out into the snow, consider indoor activities that will keep you active. Does your local YMCA or park district offer recreation facilities that you can take advantage of? Possibly an indoor pool where you can swim laps or take a water aerobics class? What about a dance class to get you moving? Or try a yoga class? Most rec centers have stationary bicycles, treadmills, and elliptical machines that will give you a low-impact workout that can even be done while watching your favorite TV show.
Not comfortable heading over to the local rec center? Why not spend some time at the mall? Just walking around the mall for half an hour can do wonders. The key here is to get out and get moving. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as you can do it consistently.
The best way to keep active during the winter is to find a few activities that you enjoy and to rotate through them on a regular basis. Keep track of what you are doing and how frequently you are doing it. You might be surprised by how much activity you are fitting into your schedule and the health benefits you reap from your new exercise plan.
* Please check with your doctor or health care professional before starting any exercise program.